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Vacation pics, round two

When we last left our intrepid traveler, she was flying to meet up with her husband in Brisbane in a passionate airport embrace. No, actually, she was going to the hotel on Monday night and when he arrived on Tuesday at 6 A.M., he was getting to the hotel by himself, because she was tired.

This might be the cleanest airplane window I have ever had the luck to take a picture out of:

Mr. Z had managed to sleep some on the plane, so he was doing pretty well and wanted to spend lots of time walking around the city. We were staying in the middle of the big bunch of skyscrapers, so we walked down to the Royal Botanical Gardens (where all the trees are in the middle of one of the big river bends), then across the river to the south bank (left side of the photo) and wandered in and out of the Modern Art museum 'cause it was free. Then we went to another park (behind the skyscrapers) and wandered around while I took a lot of pictures of what to us was either really exotic vegetation or something that we're used to seeing as a houseplant, not planted in the ground and looming over us.

The next day was time for my biggest challenge: driving. I now have two rules for transitioning to driving on the other side of the road: 1) get some friends to drive you around for a couple of days so you can wrap your head around how weird the turns look (thanks kasman and rinkle ), and 2) drive on a road that would make you pee in your pants under normal circumstances, and everything afterwards will be easy. I'd never before driven on a road with 14% grades (both up and down). I'd never before driven on a road that was part one-lane and part two-lane, with bonus hairpin turns. I'd never before driven on a road shared with cows.

And all in all, it was kind of fun, in a weird way.

We were headed to Lamington National Park, which is a subtropical rainforest on the rim of this giant old caldera (thus the steep roads) about an hour and a half south of Brisbane. We went on this looooooong hike (17 km) following a river with tons of waterfalls and lots of fun stream crossings. (I only got my feet soaked once, hurray.) It was really dark under the canopy, so my pictures didn't turn out that great because my camera overcompensates and washes everything out. But here's some decent ones:

They have this treetop walk where you go on suspension bridges between treetops that I thought was the greatest thing ever. Mr. Z and anyone else uncomfortable with heights, not so much. Fortunately for him, it was almost dark when we walked on it, which meant there was no one else around and you couldn't really see how high you were off the ground. :(

After Lamington, we drove about the same distance north of Brisbane to Noosa Heads, along the Sunshine Coast (or at least that's the name of one of the towns along it). This area was way different: rocky coast, a little drier, and with a lot more people. Not, like, a ton, but there was pretty much always someone else in sight on the trails, rather than going all day and only seeing a couple of people.

I had read in the guidebook about something called "scribbly gums", and it was pretty clear where they got that name once we saw them:

Less attractive--actually kinda scary--were the strangler figs. They take "root" at the top of a tree to get the most sunlight possible and then use the trunk of the tree for support as they wind their way down. Sometimes they literally strangle the tree to death. Creepiest plant life I've ever seen.

Part 3 to follow....


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous! And in one case, yes, creepy!
Jul. 28th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, those trees made me feel like if I walked too slowly, they'd reach out and grab me...
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 28th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
You and Karen would not have liked this road. Or maybe it would have been okay, 'cause I was averaging about 30 kph...
Jul. 26th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, they're creepy. But I love scribbly gums.
Jul. 28th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
Those were really cool.
Jul. 26th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
If I didn't already live here I'd want to come visit. Great pics and commentary!

Strangler figs are interesting, especially if you find a really old one that has killed the host tree and you can walk inside the fig.
Jul. 28th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! I'm so sorry I didn't get a chance to see you, but I just wasn't in town long enough. :( Maybe next time!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )